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June 11, 2015 // Facility Spotlight: Hillsboro ATCT (HIO)

Hillsboro ATCT (HIO) was commissioned in 1962. The facility works Class D airspace with several uncontrolled airfields in close proximity to it. There are 17 NATCA members at the facility who work closely with controllers at Portland TRACON (P80).

General aviation, helos of various sizes and uses, cooperate aircraft, air taxis, and the occasional MD80 fire tankers are all common to see in our airspace,” explains FacRep Scott Luetke, who adds that HIO controllers are excited for a new runway addition coming to the facility.

HIO is a unique facility when it comes to its users.

The controllers at HIO would all agree our biggest user, Hillsboro Aero Academy, makes our facility different,” Luetke says. Most of the students at HAA are stateside for flight training on pilot positions from their respective countries. The language barrier and developing skills of these pilots makes controlling traffic all the much more challenging. We also have an older tower and work through the daily challenges that poses.”

Special events and solidarity events are exciting additions to HIO’s work environment.

Every year HIO hosts the Oregon International Air show, where performers, primarily from Canada and the U.S. (including the Blue Angels) demonstrate their skills,” says Luetke. During the air show we get together on Friday night and watch the fireworks that follow. We also have a pizza party during the Super Bowl.”

The members of HIO are committed to collaboration and working with management,” Luetke says. I enjoy working for the members and expect that the addition of the new runway, along with a new management team will give us a lot to look forward to.”